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People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
--- George Orwell

I am therefore of the opinion that when a democratic people engages in a war after a long peace, it incurs much more risk of defeat than any other nation; but it ought not easily to be cast down by its reverses, for the chances of success for such an army are increased by the duration of the war. When a war has at length, by its long continuance, roused the whole community from their peaceful occupations and ruined their minor undertakings, the same passions that made them attach so much importance to the maintenance of peace will be turned to arms. War, after it has destroyed all modes of speculation, becomes itself the great and sole speculation, to which all the ardent and ambitious desires that equality engenders are exclusively directed. Hence it is that the selfsame democratic nations that are so reluctant to engage in hostilities sometimes perform prodigious achievements when once they have taken the field.
--- Democracy in America, 1835-1839, Alexis de Tocqueville, section 3, chapter XXIV

Service Home PagesBack to Top

Unified CommandsBack to Top Issues and PlanningBack to Top
  • See also DoD/Government Strategic Plans, Posture Statements, and Visions

  • What is Joint Interdependence Anyway? (local copy), by Paparone, in Military Review, Jul-Aug 2004
    • In Organization in Action, James D. Thompson describes three types of interdependence (from the least to the most complicated):
      1. Pooled interdependence, where separate organizations, which perform adequately on their own, might fail if one or more of the others fail. Failure threatens all.
      2. Sequential interdependence, which is linear like a supply chain or assembly line. One unit in the chain produces something necessary for the next unit, and so forth.
      3. Reciprocal interdependence, where the output of one organization becomes the input for others and vice versa. Organizations become less distinguishable from each other and their combined performance requires complex forms of coordination.

  • Annual Defense Report, reports for 1995 thru most recent
  • Report of National Defense Panel

  • Air Force Issues & Answers Site

Comm, Labs, Technology, and DISABack to Top Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) ReportsBack to Top Battle Labs and related resourcesBack to Top WarfightingBack to Top Strategic ArtBack to Top
  • see also strategy models and criticisms on military theory page

  • see also strategic thinking on thinking skills page

  • see also operational art below

  • Schools for Strategy: Teaching Strategy for 21st Century Conflict (local copy), by Gray, SSI, Nov 2009

  • Strategic Art - the New Discipline for 21st Century Leaders (local copy), by Maj Gen Chilcoat, Army War College

      This essay develops a simple, yet comprehensive definition of strategic art. Strategic art entails the orchestration of all the instruments of national power to yield specific, well-defined end states. Desired end states and strategic outcomes derive from the national interests and are variously defined in terms of physical security, economic well-being, and the promotion of values. Strategic art, broadly defined, is therefore: The skillful formulation, coordination, and application of ends (objectives), ways (courses of action), and means (supporting resources) to promote and defend the national interests. [from the abstract]

      "The nation cannot afford uncoordinated approaches among the domains of strategy-military, economic, diplomatic, or informational-which often manifest themselves as institutional and bureaucratic barriers to unity of thought and action. Political and military leaders must work closely, interacting on desired end states, objectives, courses of action, capabilities, and risks. Both must be masters of strategic art, and the subordination of military to civilian leadership does not lessen the importance of military counsel and advice to political authorities or the responsibilities of both to communicate and coordinate at every level of strategy and during all phases of conflict. This is the essence of strategic art."

  • The Digital General: Reflections on Leadership in the Post-Information Age, by Harig, in Parameters, Autumn 1996
      One of the particular ironies of the Information Age is that the shifts in expectations and perceptions cataloged here may create and support superb battle staff officers, because these men and women of the future will know how to leverage powerful analytical tools for tremendous advantages in speed, precision, and effect. Yet, these transformations also could supply a hubris for the digital general because they make it more difficult to shift from the operational to the strategic level of leadership.

      In the worst case, an officer corps mesmerized by high technology could produce a generation of senior leaders that is so insecure without their computer models and decision systems that they could not step beyond them. That could have dire consequences:

      • Reluctance to "break out of the box"
      • Death of the metaphor
      • Fear of risk and error

  • JLASS: Educating Future Leaders in Strategic and Operational Art (local copy), by Hyde and Everett, in Joint Force Quarterly

  • The Army's Advanced Strategic Art Program, by Murray, in Parameters

  • Why Strategy Is Difficult (local copy), by Colin S. Gray, in Joint Force Quarterly

    • "My key argument is organized around three reasons why it is difficult to do strategy well:"
      • its very nature, which endures through time and in all contexts
      • the multiplicity and sheer variety of sources of friction
      • it is planned for contexts that literally have not occurred and might not occur; the future has not happened

  • On Strategic Performance (local copy), by Colin S. Gray, in Joint Force Quarterly

    • The virtue of Clausewitz’s definition of strategy is that it is crystal clear on the distinction between its subject and other matters. Specifically, strategy is “the use of engagements for the object of the war.”

    • What may be called the strategy test applied to behavior reduces usefully to the question “so what?” Tactical discussion should focus on what force, or the threat of force, did or might have done. Strategic discussion, by contrast, should consider what difference the use, or threat of use, of force would make to the course of events.

    • There is a sense in which all levels of conflict have strategic features, as Edward Luttwak states persuasively.

    • A holistic approach is correct. A vision of a politically desirable condition should inspire policy choices supported by a strategy that makes good use of operational competence founded on tactical excellence.

    • Why is strategy difficult to achieve, let alone sustain?With some grateful borrowing and adaptation from Clausewitz, I find six connected reasons.

      • First, competence in strategy requires mastery of a challenging complexity.
      • Second, by its nature strategy is more demanding of the intellect and perhaps imagination than any structurally more simple activity-policy, operations, tactics, or logistics for prominent examples.
      • Third, it is extraordinarily difficult to train competent strategists, let alone outstanding ones.
      • Fourth, strategy is extraordinarily difficult to conduct with consistent excellence because of the unique physical and moral burdens it puts on would-be strategists.
      • Fifth, it is worth citing what Clausewitz termed friction, although the previous point can be seen as encompassing aspects of this phenomenon. ... Friction is not unique to the strategic realm, but it is likely to be uniquely pervasive and debilitating in its cumulative effect in that realm.
      • Finally, success in strategy calls for a quality of judgment that cannot be taught.

    • Strategic performance is inescapable. The quip that “you may not be interested in strategy, but strategy is interested in you,” refers to an enduring truth. The only alternative to good strategic performance is fair or poor strategic performance, not no strategic performance.

  • Comparative Strategic Culture, by Gray, in Parameters, Winter 1984

    • "The purpose of this article is to examine a three-part proposition:"
      • The concept of strategic culture is a useful tool for better understanding ourselves, others, and how others view us.
      • Just as cultural awareness can enlighten, so the "fog of culture" can restrict understanding.
      • Restricted understanding of the strategic culture of others can be very dangerous for international peace and security.

Operational ArtBack to Top Military Campaign PlanningBack to Top Flexible Deterrent Options (FDOs)Back to Top
  • deterrent options - (from DOD Dictionary) A course of action, developed on the best economic, diplomatic, political, and military judgment, designed to dissuade an adversary from a current course of action or contemplated operations. (In constructing an operation plan, a range of options should be presented to effect deterrence. Each option requiring deployment of forces should be a separate force module.)
  • flexible deterrent option - (from DOD Dictionary) A planning construct intended to facilitate early decision by laying out a wide range of interrelated response paths that begin with deterrent-oriented options carefully tailored to send the right signal. The flexible deterrent option is the means by which the various deterrent options available to a commander (such as economic, diplomatic, political, and military measures) are implemented into the planning process. Also called FDO. See also deterrent options.

  • The Joint Staff Officer's Guide (aka Pub 1) (local copy)

  • The Creation and Dissemination of All Forms of Information in Support of Psychological Operations (PSYOP) in Time of Military Conflict, May 2000 Defense Science Board report
      In the best case scenario, PSYOP actions will be coupled with other flexible deterrent options and actually prevent conflict. PSYOP after a conflict will shape the way U.S. military actions are perceived by people in the region and help to achieve the end state desired by the Theater CINC and the National Command Authorities.

  • Using Space Forces as Military Flexible Deterrent Options, by Johnson, National War College paper, 2001

Human ElementBack to Top Nonlethal WeaponsBack to Top Air Expeditionary Forces (AEF), and Expeditionary Aerospace Forces (EAF)Back to Top Intelligence, Counterintelligence, and TerrorismBack to Top International Alliances/AffairsBack to Top Nukes and Associated TopicsBack to Top
  • Nuclear Information Resources, by Los Alamos National Lab
  • Nuclear Explosion Catalog, hosted at Oklahoma Geological Survey ---(local copy), includes short explanation of detection in Oklahoma of Chinese nuclear test
Entropy-Based Warfare (EBW)Back to Top Small Scale or Smaller Scale ContingenciesBack to Top Effects-Based Operations (EBO)Back to Top Complex and/or Time-Sensitive TargetingBack to Top Predictive Battlespace Awareness (PBA)Back to Top Network Centric Warfare (NCW), Network Centric OperationsBack to Top


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